Can You Become Addicted to Gabapentin?
Drugs like gabapentin can mess with your dopamine levels, and with prolonged use, they may be the only source of dopamine in your body. As a result, it is highly addictive.
Gabapentin, which is also known by the brand name of Neurontin, is a prescription pain medication but belongs to its own class of drugs known as Gabapentinoids. It is commonly used as an anticonvulsant and is prescribed to treat things like epilepsy and seizures, restless leg syndrome, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, and is even prescribed to treat alcohol and drug withdrawals. In addition, it is often prescribed because it is less addictive than alternative opioid pain medications.
Can Gabapentin Abuse Is Possible?
Gabapentin abuse and addiction are still absolutely possible. Gabapentin has a very similar structure chemically to the GABA receptors in the brain, which are responsible for affecting the body’s nervous system. Therefore, it produces feelings of calmness and relaxation that can help reduce nerve pain, anxiety and even help with poor sleep.
How Do You Become Addicted to Gabapentin?
It is possible to become addicted to Gabapentin. Generally, abuse and addiction to Gabapentin occur in people who already have an addiction to other drugs or alcohol. A gabapentin high can be described as being high on marijuana and causes feelings of calmness and euphoria. However, whether it is in conjunction with other drugs or on its own, Gabapentin can be abuse and even become an addiction of its own.
An addiction to a drug always begins with abuse first. Gabapentin abuse happens when someone takes the drug in any way that is not prescribed to them, whether in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed. For example, if someone is prescribed Gabapentin to help with restless leg syndrome, they might find out that eventually, it doesn’t work as well. Because of this, they might increase the amount they are using. They may not even know it is abuse until it is too late.
Getting High and Dopamine Levels
Others may use Gabapentin without a prescription with the sole purpose of getting high. It is even seen that recreational use of this drug has expanded in recent years. Someone abusing this drug for this purpose is likely to continue doing it until they run the risk of becoming dependent and even addicted to it. When a person abuses gabapentin, it makes total sense that they would eventually get addicted to it. As time passes, a tolerance to the drug is developed, causing you to increase your dosage to achieve the same high steadily. At some point, you will feel like you can no longer manage your life without using it.
Dependence and addiction to gabapentin occur due to the way it affects the dopamine levels in your brain. When used to get high, your brain will experience higher than normal floods of the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine. This makes you feel happy. However, eventually, your brain will be unable to produce dopamine at the right levels naturally and eventually not at all. So it is now the job of gabapentin to supply your brain with dopamine, so when you are not using it, you no longer feel like yourself.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Gabapentin
When you stop using gabapentin or take a lower dose than what your body is used to after being dependent and addicted, you will experience withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can begin just 12 hours after your last dose and last and upwards of a week. The symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal include:
- difficulty sleeping
- body pains
- mood changes
On-Call Treatment - Recovery When You Need It
If you are addicted to gabapentin, now is the time to act, and we can assist you in your journey to sobriety. You may feel like you are trapped in your addiction, but you need to know that isn’t true. With the right treatment and support, sobriety and recovery are possible for you. Give one of our addiction specialists a call at any time, and be rest assured that all calls are free and confidential.